By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
2:14 PM EDT, August 1, 2012
Orioles manager Buck Showalter calls it a good problem to have, especially considering how thin the O’s were at second base two weeks ago.
Omar Quintanilla, acquired from the Mets for cash on July 20 to provide middle infield depth with second basemen Robert Andino and Brian Roberts out with injuries, made his 10th consecutive start and his second straight since Andino was activated off the disabled list before Tuesday’s game.
The 30-year-old Quintanilla, who was mainly acquired for his defense, has surprised the Orioles with his offense. A career .228 hitter, Quintanilla entered Wednesday’s series finale in the Bronx hitting .406/.412/594. He’s also hit safely in seven straight games, going 12-for-26 (.462) with three extra-base hits (2 2B, 1 HR), a .464 on-base percentage, a 1.118 OPS and four multi-hit games during that stretch.
Quintanilla drove in three runs in the first two games against the Yankees, including a key two-out, two-run single Tuesday off Ivan Nova that fueled the Orioles’ seven-run second inning in their 11-5 comeback win.
“It would be easy to say know we knew exactly what [we were getting],” Showalter said of Quintanilla. “We had an open mind about it. He’s got some track record of having success. I think he was, if you look at the on-base percentage of the last two, three weeks he played with the Mets, it was good.
“He’s a very hungry guy,” Showalter added. “He’s got a real intensity about him. I can’t say I knew exactly but I trusted our people and we did a lot of homework on him. It doesn’t surprise me that he approaches the game the way that he does.”
With Andino back, it leaves the Showalter with the tough decision of deciding who should start at second. Showalter said both will play and added Andino will likely get his first start since coming of the DL on Friday.
“I was surprised,” Quintanilla said about starting over Andino on Tuesday. “Andino is a good player. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t make the decisions but I’m thinking we’re both going to be ready to play every day when they need us.”
The Orioles also have rookie Ryan Flaherty, a Rule 5 pick this offseason, but Flaherty will likely see most of his time coming off the bench since also plays shortstop, this and the outfield and offers a late-inning sutstitution.
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